ITD warns motorists to watch for motorcyclists
Warm weather brings more two-wheeled motor vehicles onto the state’s highways, prompting ITD to remind all vehicle drivers to be extra alert for motorcycles and scooters.
May is “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month” and ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety encourages all drivers to “Share the Road” with those smallest vehicles. Because of their smaller size, motorcycles or scooters are not easily seen and can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.
“It’s crucial that motorists always look for these riders by checking mirrors and blind spots and looking twice before turning or crossing a lane of traffic,” said ITD's Pat Beale. Motorcyclists are much more vulnerable than passenger vehicle drivers in a crash. He added that 88 percent of motorcycle riders involved in a crash are injured.
One out of nine U.S. highway fatalities in 2006 involved motorcycle drivers. Between 2002 and 2007, motorcycle fatalities in Idaho jumped more than 260 percent – from 11 to 29, according to ITD statistics.
“Sadly, we see that more Idaho riders are killing themselves than are being killed by cars,” Beale said. “In 2007, nearly 70 percent of all fatal motorcycle collisions in Idaho were single-vehicle collisions, with no cars involved.”
Beale said another disturbing fact is that nearly two-thirds of motorcyclists killed in Idaho during 2007 were not wearing a helmet.
Motorcycle and scooter riders of all ages can benefit from proper instruction like the STAR motorcycle rider trainer program, Beale said.
“Motorcycle drivers have responsibilities, starting with following the rules of the road. They need to be alert to other motor vehicle drivers and always wear a helmet and protective gear.”
Idaho law requires all motorcycle operators and passengers who are younger than 18 to wear a helmet.
Beale offered additional tips to help keep motorcyclists safe on Idaho highways.